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Character and Leadership Development

Empowering youth to support and influence their Club and community, sustain meaningful relationships with others, develop a positive self-image, participate in the democratic process and respect their own and others cultural identities

Specific Character and Leadership Development Programs:

Youth of the Year
Our premier youth recognition program for Club members. All members can benefit from participation in this program, which promotes and celebrates service to Club, community and family; academic performance; moral character; life goals; and poise and public speaking ability.

Torch Club
Small-group leadership and service club for boys and girls ages 11-13. The Staples National Torch Club Awards are presented annually to Torch Clubs with outstanding program and activities in the four areas. Staples Foundation for Learning, Inc. and Staples, Inc. sponsor the Torch Club program.

Goals for Growth
Goals for Growth teaches Club members ages 8-12 skills for setting and achieving goals, helps them identify their own strengths and enhances their self-esteem by reinforcing their progress and recognizing their success in realizing their goals. Members set goals in six areas: Club involvement; discovery of new knowledge, skills or pastimes; service to others; school improvement; personal improvement; and career awareness.



Education and Career Development

Enabling youth to become proficient in basic educational disciplines, apply learning to everyday situations and embrace technology to achieve success in a career.

Specific Education and Career Development Programs:

Project Learn
Project Learn reinforces and enhances the skills and knowledge young people learn at school during the hours they spend at the Club. Students do much better in school when they spend their non-school hours engaged in fun, but academically beneficial, activities. Through Project Learn, Club staff use all the areas and programs in the Club to create opportunities for these high-yield learning activities, which include leisure reading, writing activities, discussions with knowledgeable adults, helping others, homework help and tutoring and games like Scrabble that develop young peoples cognitive skills. Project Learn also emphasizes parent involvement and collaboration between Club and school professionals as critical factors in creating the best after-school learning environment for Club members ages 6-18. Extensively field-tested and formally evaluated by Columbia University with funding from Carnegie Corporation of New York, Project Learn has been proven to boost the academic performance of Club members.

Goals for Graduation
Goals for Graduation, a Project Learn resource, introduces academic goal setting to Club members ages 6-15 by linking their future aspirations with concrete actions today. In goal-setting  sessions with Club youth development professionals, members set achievable "Know-I-Can" Goals, more challenging "Think-I-Can" Goals, and yearly "Believe-I-Can" goals. Members create an action plan with daily and weekly goals leading to short- and long-term gains. A comprehensive guidance strategy helps members connect their smallest results to their highest dreams. An encouraging recognition strategy buoys members as their successes are recognized and supported at every step of their journey.


Power Hour: Making Minutes Count
Power Hour helps Club members ages 6-12 be more successful in school by providing homework help and tutoring and encouraging members to become self-directed learners.

CareerLaunch encourages Club members ages 13-18 to assess their skills and interests, explore careers, make sound educational decisions and prepare to join our nations ever-changing work force.

JOB READY! prepares Club members ages 16-18 with specific skills to secure employment and be successful in the world of work. Teens learn how to identify job opportunities, write effective sums, perform well in interviews, dress appropriately, develop good work habits and get along well with others in the workplace. JOB READY!

Junior Staff Career Development
Junior Staff Career Development is a comprehensive, small-group program that assists Club members ages 11-18 in exploring a career in youth or human services, particularly Boys & Girls Club work.

Skill Tech I and II
Skill Tech is a basic computer skills program that develops Club members� proficiency with word processing, spreadsheet and other productivity software through fun, hands-on, engaging lessons and projects for four age groups. Skill Tech II is designed to teach advanced, yet practical technology skills to Club members aged 6 to 18. Using animated, interactive tutorials on courseware developed exclusively for Boys & Girls Clubs, as well as hands-on, instructor-led group activities, Skill Tech II introduces members to hardware and networking skills and technology-related career opportunities.

Money Matters: Make It Count
Money Matters promotes financial responsibility and independence among Club members ages 13-18 by building their basic money management skills. Participants learn how to manage a checking account, budget, save and invest. They also learn about starting small businesses and paying for college.



Health and Life Skills

Developing young people's capacity to engage in positive behaviors that nurture their own well-being, set personal goals and live successfully as self-sufficient adults.

Specific Health and Life Skills Programs:

SMART (Skills Mastery and Resistance Training) Moves
This nationally acclaimed comprehensive prevention program helps young people resist alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, as well as premature sexual activity. SMART Moves features engaging, interactive, small-group activities that increase participants peer support, enhance their life skills, build their resiliency and strengthen their leadership skills. This year-round program encourages collaborations among Club staff, youth, parents and representatives from other community organizations. The program's components are: SMART Kids, for ages 6-9; Start SMART, for ages 10-12; Stay SMART, for ages 13-15; and SMART Parents.

SMART Girls is a small-group health, fitness, prevention/education and self-esteem enhancement program designed to meet the developmental needs of girls ages 8-12 and 13-17. Through dynamic sessions, highly participatory activities, field trips and mentoring opportunities with adult women, Club girls explore their own and societal attitudes and values as the build skills for eating right, staying physically fit, getting good health care and developing positive relationships with peers and adults

Street SMART
Street SMART counteracts the negative lures of gangs, violence and street influences on young adolescents ages 11-13. While building awareness and resistance skills, participants develop the confidence and knowledge to make intelligent choices. Street SMARTs four modules teach young people how gangs work and how to resist being recruited, how to recognize and resolve conflicts peacefully, how to become positive peer helpers and how to recognize and respect the similarities and differences of others. Participants reinforce what they have learned and share it with others by organizing community events that promote the program's positive messages.

Passport to Manhood
Passport to Manhood promotes and teaches responsibility in Club boys ages 11-14. Passport to Manhood consists of 14 sessions, each of which concentrates on a specific aspect of manhood through highly interactive activities. Each Club participant receives his own passport to underscore the notion that he is on a personal journey of maturation and growth. Passport to Manhood represents a targeted effort to engage young boys in discussions activities that reinforce positive behavior.



The Arts

Enable youth to develop their creativity and cultural awareness through knowledge and appreciation of the visual arts, crafts, performing arts and creative writing.

Specific Arts Programs:

National Fine Arts Exhibit Program
This year-round program encourages artistic expression among Club members ages 6-18 through drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, mixed media and sculpture displayed at local and regional exhibits.

ImageMakers National Photography Contest
This year-round program encourages Club members ages 6-18 to learn and practice black-and-white, color, digital and alternative process photography. ImageMakers has three components: a photography programming resource guide full of fun, creative activity ideas for three skill levels; small grants for Clubs to start or strengthen photography programs; and an annual photography contest that provides local, regional and national recognition.

Digital Arts Suite and Festivals
Club Tech's suite of self-directed digital arts courseware consists of Web Tech (Web page design), Design Tech (graphic design), Photo Tech (photo illustration) and Music Tech. Movie Tech contains detailed instructor materials for teaching members to write screenplays and facilitating the hands-on process of filming and editing digital movies. Once Club members have participated in these programs, they can submit their digital artwork to the annual Digital Arts Festivals competitions


Sports, Fitness and Recreation

Developing fitness, positive use of leisure time, skills for stress management, appreciation for the environment and social skills.

Specific Sports, Fitness and Recreation Programs:

Triple Play
Introducing Triple Play: A Game Plan for Mind, Body and Soul. This program takes a holistic approach to educating boys and girls about good nutrition, making physical fitness a daily practice and developing individual strengths and good character. Through this program we are:

  • Empowering youth to eat right is a generation-changing, life-enhancing program goal, and Triple Play's nutrition component, called Healthy Habits, covers the power of choice, calories, vitamins and minerals, the food pyramid and appropriate portion size


  • Boosting traditional physical activities to a higher level by providing sports and fitness activities for all youth; boys and girls, athletically gifted and those talented in other areas, children and teens alike. Daily Fitness Challenges: six challenges give youth at every age the chance to play longer and harder at different games, from jumping rope to basketball and creating games of their own.
    • Basketball Challenge
    • Jump Rope Challenge
    • Get Fit Challenge
    • Walk/Run Challenge
    • Home Run Challenge
    • Invent-a-Sport Challenge